Everyone needs a place to hide. A place where you can just go and be. When you need to get far away from your normal surroundings, yet need to stay somewhere close and want to be somewhere familiar. Being a pretentious twat, normally I head to the National Gallery… however now I need an alternative. Because, you know i’m not in London anymore.
The first time I was in Kochi was back in 2012, and it was the art on the streets and the cafes that were two of the reasons I knew I could be here for such a long time. That first trip out wandering was full of memories and recognition and familiarity, nowhere more than Oy’s on Burgar Street.
don’t remember going there alot, or making friends with anyone in particular – but i do remember it becoming my haven prior to my epic trip to Hampi, via Bangalore after I was politely ejected from my homestay many, many hours before my train was due to leave, as is always the way. I spent hours there, me and my overstuffed backpack taking residency on a sofa, consuming their bookcase and devouring both the menu and the wifi.
However this time it’s become not only a haven to hide in when i need a break from either of the current homestays, but the owners have become my saviours in regards to both their cinnamon toast with grilled banana and honey but also to my general life in India. From helping my frustration regarding the plumbing situation, carrying giant tanks of water up 3 flights of stairs or simply providing me with an array of local newspapers to read. They are legends.
And then there’s also Brownie the dog whose ability to give a dirty look if you disturb her peace and penchant for licking bare feet are also pretty epic. A rescue who wandered into the cafe 4 years ago and never left.
However my favourite thing, apart form the charm, food, coffee, sofas, wifi, locality and affiliated homestay are the walls.
Being home to the biennale, Kochi is stuffed with street art and whilst alot of places do carry art on the wall, Oy’s continues the thread of both with street art and with hung pictures. My favourite, the lady on the wall piece is made more perfect by the bronzed buddhas hiding in alcoves around her, but the words of wisdom that are relatively easy to miss are a close second. Positive, forward thinking, cutting and youthful the stencils exume energy into their otherwise relaxing surroundings. So if you’re in Fort Kochi and looking for a haven I would say come in, however if you all come then there wont be room left for me…